Many, many mothers have told me their day goes smoothest for their children when they stay home but that there is an issue of feeling isolated themselves when they only go out two times a week or once a week! It really is a fine line, isn’t it, between doing what is really good for small children, who do need to be firmly entrenched in the home, but also keeping our sanity! Do you all remember that post where I wrote the average woman speaks 25,000 words a day or something like that? I mean, those words have gotta come out somewhere, right? It can be hard when we only have a small child around, and then we tend to start talking just to hear ourselves talk and we overtalk that poor child to death!
Ladies, again, I think this is a fine line. For many mothers I know who suffer from post-partum depression, they have to be around some people to keep them on an even keel, so this whole forty days at home doesn’t work well for them unless they have a strong support system of folks willing to come to them. I also encourage mothers to get their friend fix without their small children if possible, because let’s face it, to get support we want to talk about the challenges of parenting and I think that is so hard to do with all your children listening! Perhaps that is a possibility for you! (Obviously I am all for breastfeeding infants and toddlers coming along because they have such an intense need for their mothers!)
So, I think of this depends upon where you are in your parenting journey, and some of it depends upon your personality. I am completely extroverted, (uh, other than I need my quiet time at night so I can write!) but I LOVE people, I love to hear their stories and all these connections go off in my head. It is like pinballs bouncing around in my head, ping, ping, ping. I bet you all could hear that in that Waldorf Connection Radio Show, LOL! I am very lucky that I have a pretty great circle of friends. However, that took time to build up!
So what do you do if you have no friends locally yet? I don’t think entrenching your children in your home means you never go out of your home – can you walk to the park? Play outside in your subdivision or street? Do you have neighbors? Is there a homeschooling group you could attend? Can you go to a La Leche League meeting or an Attachment Parenting meeting and meet some mothers? Do you have ANY friends that you could take turns going to their house one week and them coming to you one week so you both could be home one extra day during the week? Just remember that small children really need you to hold that space in the beginning with a structured activity, and to really keep those times with other children short! There are many posts on this blog regarding “playdates” for small children, perhaps those would help you to have a successful time of it!
Some mothers feel very isolated when they have that first child, because maybe their friends haven’t had children yet, so it is like building a circle of friends all over in many ways. That is a challenging time of transition! At the time you are challenged by finding your way in parenting, you are also feeling separate from all your former friends! I think in that case you do need to get out and meet some new people – neighbors, people at your place of worship whom you don’t know well but would like to get to know, people you run into with children at the store even!
Make a list – do you know women whom you would like to get to know better? Can you call them up and arrange a meeting? What qualities do you want in a friend? Write them down! I have seen mothers post flyers at their local health food store, yoga studio, etc asking for mothers with children of certain ages to call them to arrange a meeting… Yes, it is a risk in some ways, but sometimes one has to be proactive! Sometimes mothers meet over message boards, forums…Did you all know my local Waldorf homeschooling group actually started with three of us who met on-line? It was like this: “What, you are in Georgia? I’m in Georgia! We live really far apart, but so what, let’s form a group! Probably there will only be the three of us!” (now we have about 25 families as members! Never thought that would happen!) Everything has to start somewhere!
Sometimes Waldorf homeschoolers have a hard time getting together with other families because they feel the other families won’t understand the way they parent. That can be true, if the other children are really media-saturated and can only play in reference to media, but I have to say: search for that common ground. You may be a really positive influence for someone else! Also, check with your Unschoolers! I find in the Early Years, we often have quite a bit in common with our unschooling friends as far as more of that unfolding gesture in our educational philosophies!
This is SUCH an important issue, please, please leave a comment and talk about how you handle this balance – being home, making new friends who might be conducive to your parenting style, what to do!
Connections make the world go round,